SOUTHEND United’s youth sides will be facing Fulham in their first pre-season friendlies tomorrow.

Blues’ under-23s and under-18s will take on the Londoners at Boots & Laces tomorrow.

And the Shrimpers’ under-23 coach Kevin Maher will take his team into the game following a tough week in training.

“It’s been a good few days but they’ve been a tough few days for the players, especially in this heat,” said Maher.

“We did all the testing last week and then had the footballs out from Monday onwards.

“The fitness levels have looked good but I’m sure all the boys are looking forward to getting the feel of a match again.”

However, Maher feels it will be a tough opening game for the under-23s.

“This is going to be a tough game but it’s always good to have tests like this in pre-season,” said Maher.

“Fulham always have good youth teams and they are bringing down both their under-23s and the under-18s, which is great.

“Obviously it’s all about fitness at this stage but it will still be good to get back out there.”

And the game will also signal the start of the Shrimpers’ new look squad.

“The under-23s by its nature is an evolving group but we look strong this year,” said Maher.

“We have players coming up from the under-18s but a couple have moved up into the first team squad which is exactly what we want.”

Blues have also completed the signing of striker Isaac Hutchinson following his release from Brighton & Hove Albion.